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City Won’t Give ‘Occupy Charlotte’ Protesters Porta-Potties

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Demonstrators with "Occupy Charlotte" said Charlotte needs to provide them a place to use the restroom. (credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Demonstrators with “Occupy Charlotte” said Charlotte needs to provide them a place to use the restroom. (credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBS Charlotte) – “Occupy Charlotte” protesters have nothing to occupy when they need to go to the bathroom.

A Charlotte city ordinance doesn’t allow anyone to erect semi-permanent structures, which include portable toilets.

For over two weeks, a group of approximately 25 people have camped out on the Old City Hall lawn. During the day, they can use public facilities or local businesses, but it’s more difficult to find a legal place late at night.

“Late nights have been kind of rough,” protester John Wrenn told WBTV. “You just try to make sure to go before the transit (center) closes.”

The movement’s website is calling on city manager Curt Walton to place portable facilities onsite, but Charlotte Police Central Command Capt. J.W. Estes isn’t budging.

“There are no plans to permit porta-potty’s to be put in place at the public forum space currently being used by the ‘Occupy Charlotte’ group. The city does not provide porta-potty’s to any protest groups,” he told CBS Charlotte.

If protesters wish, Estes said they could place portable facilities on nearby private property.

Local businessman Gaspare Marturano said both groups should try harder to figure something out. He tweeted that regardless of whose side the public is on, Mayor Anthony Fox should recognize the “basic human right” of a safe place to use.

He drove his interested nephew down to the protests a week ago and said he can see the issue from both sides.

“The city should respect that they’re citizens working within the rules. They’re good kids,” he told CBS Charlotte. “The city should send someone down to help protesters figure something out.”

According to a memo from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe to members of city government, protesters were informed of all ordinances applicable to overnight occupation on public property including signage, littering and sanitation.

The memo adds protesters are cooperating with police, have complied to orders and were respectful of others’ property.

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